THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

PROGRAM AIR DATE – 7-19-15

LESSON TITLE: “FOR NOW WE LIVE, IF YOU STAND FAST IN THE LORD.”

WELCOME

IN ECCLESIASTIES 12:13, THE WISE MAN SOLOMON SAID, “LET US HEAR THE CONCLUSION OF THE WHOLE MATTER: FEAR GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, FOR THIS IS MAN'S ALL.” TODAY, IT IS MY HOPE AND PRAYER THAT WE HAVE ALL COME TOGETHER, BEFORE THE THRONE OF GOD AS COMPLETE SERVANTS. WHICH MEANS WE ARE ALL THOSE WHO FEAR GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS.

HOW GLORIOUS IT IS TO ASSEMBLE THIS MORNING, AND TO COME BEFORE SUCH A MIGHTY AND AWESOME GOD, TO WORSHIP AND PRAISE HIS NAME, AS HE HAS COMMANDED. SO THANK YOU FOR JOINING US AND FOR DOING YOUR PART AS WE OFFER THESE SACRIFICES TO OUR GOD. AT THIS TIME, LET’S APPROACH OUR FATHER’S THRONE IN PRAYER:

PRAYER: OUR GOD AND FATHER IN HEAVEN, WE THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS DAY AND THE MANY GREAT BLESSINGS OF LIFE AND THE MANY GREAT PRIVILEGES THAT WE HAVE TO LIVE DAILY IN THIS LIFE. FOR FATHER, WE KNOW ALL GOOD THINGS COME FROM YOU. WHETHER PHYSICAL OR SPIRITUAL, ALL BLESSINGS ARE YOURS. AND FATHER, WE THANK YOU FOR THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL - YOUR SON JESUS AND THE SACRIFICE THAT HE MADE ON THE CROSS, AS HE WAS ALSO BURIED AND RESURRECTED ON THE THIRD DAY THAT WE MIGHT STAND JUSTIFIED TODAY BEFORE YOU THROUGH HIS GREAT BLOOD AND THE GRACE, MERCY AND LOVE THAT WAS GIVEN FOR EACH OF MANKIND. AND FATHER, HELP US TO LIVE EVERY DAY TO SHOW FORTH YOUR GLORY - THAT WE MIGHT NOT ONLY BE BLESSED NOW BUT BLESSED ETERNALLY. IN THESE THINGS WE PRAY THROUGH JESUS' NAME, AMEN.

OUR FIRST SONG OF THE DAY REMINDS US OF THE PRIVILEGE WE HAVE AS CHRISTIANS TO KNOW THAT GOD WILL REWARD US GREATLY WHEN THIS LIFE IS OVER. SO AT THIS TIME, LET ME ENCOURAGE US ALL TO JOIN TOGETHER IN THIS SONG OF PRAISE, THE NAME OF THE HYMN, “I’LL FLY AWAY!”

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

ISN’T IT GREAT TO HAVE THE BIBLE AND TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT GOD WANTS OF US IN OUR DAILY LIVES? IN ITS PAGES WE LEARN OF OUR GREAT OPPORTUNITY AND PRIVILEGE TO DO WHAT GOD SAYS. AND DID YOU NOTICE THE WONDROUS TEACHING WE LEARNED IN OUR FIRST VERSE THIS MORNING? AGAIN, THE WISE MAN SAID, “LET US HEAR THE CONCLUSION OF THE WHOLE MATTER: FEAR GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, FOR THIS IS MAN'S ALL.”

BRETHREN, THE FACT IS, WE MUST DO WHAT GOD ASKS, BECAUSE WE ARE COMMANDED TO DO SO AS A DUTY AS THOSE WHO OBEY THE WILL OF GOD. THINK ABOUT THOSE TWO CONCEPTS FOR A MOMENT, COMMANDS AND DUTY - WHAT COMES TO YOUR MIND? THE SAD REALITY IS, PEOPLE DON’T LIKE THESE TYPES OF IDEAS TODAY, DO THEY? IN A WORLD OF “DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO,” AND “MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS,” PEOPLE TEND TO GET REALLY UPSET AND DEFENSIVE, WHEN WE SAY THAT WE ARE COMMANDED TO DO SOMETHING OR THAT WE HAVE A DUTY TO FULFILL AS CHILDREN OF GOD.

WELL, BRETHREN AND FRIENDS, LIKE IT OR NOT, WE ARE COMMANDED OF GOD TO LABOR ACCORDING TO HIS WILL. WE ARE GIVEN A DUTY TO FULFILL IF WE ARE TO BE FOUND PLEASING IN HIS SIGHT. AND WHY WOULD WE HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT, HAVE WE FORGOTTEN WHAT OUR GOD HAS DONE, IS DOING, AND HAS PROMISED TO DO FOR US? HAVE WE FORGOTTEN THE SACRIFICE OF JESUS ON THE CROSS? WE ALL NEED TO GET THAT CHIP OFF OF OUR SHOULDER, HUMBLE OURSELVES AND SUBMIT COMPLETELY TO THE WILL OF OUR ALMIGHTY GOD.

SO I ASK YOU TODAY, WHAT TYPE OF COMMITMENT ARE YOU WILLING TO MAKE TO YOUR GOD? HOW MUCH ARE YOU WILLING TO SUBMIT? THE FACTS ARE, WE ONLY ARE DOING ENOUGH WHEN WE ARE DOING OUR BEST, AND GIVING OUR ALL TO THE CREATOR. CHOOSE TODAY TO HUMBLE YOURSELF IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD, DETERMINE TO DO ALL THAT HE COMMANDS, AND GOD WILL LIFT YOU UP - AS WELL AS GIVE YOU A FINAL AND ETERNAL REWARD!

IN JUST A FEW MINUTES IT WILL BE TIME TO BEGIN OUR MAIN STUDY OF THE DAY. OUR TOPIC OF STUDY WILL AGAIN FOCUS ON THE STATEMENT, “STAND FAST IN THE LORD.” OUR SPECIFIC LESSON OF THE MORNING IS ENTITLED, “FOR NOW WE LIVE, IF YOU STAND FAST IN THE LORD.” SO PLEASE STAY WITH US FOR THIS STUDY FROM GOD’S WORD, AND I WILL BE LEADING OUR THOUGHTS AT THE APPROPRIATE TIME. NOW LET’S JOIN TOGETHER IN OUR NEXT SONG OF THE MORNING. THE NAME OF THIS HYMN, “PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD.”

LESSON

BY RAY SULLINS

WE'RE SO GLAD YOU'VE CONTINUED WITH US NOW AS WE GO TO GOD'S WORD AND FIND ANOTHER EXCERTATION IN RELATIONSHIP TO HOW WE NEED TO BE THOSE WHO ARE STANDING FAST IN THE LORD. AND YOU MIGHT RECALL WITH ME, THOSE OF YOU WHO WATCH ON A WEEKLY BASIS, THAT WE HAVE TAKEN OUR MAIN THOUGHTS FROM PHILIPPIANS CHAPTER 4:1 WHERE PAUL SPEAKS TO WHAT HE CALLS HIS BELOVED, THOSE WHO ARE BELOVED IN THE SIGHT OF GOD. NOT ONLY IN THE SIGHT OF GOD, BUT THAT ARE DEAR TO HIM. IN FACT, THE WORD BELOVED THERE COMES FROM THE GREEK WORD AGAPE AND IT IS THAT BROTHERLY LOVE, THAT DEEP AFFECTION. AND HE SAYS, BELOVED. THEREFORE, MY BELOVED BRETHREN. YOU SEE THEY ARE DEAR TO HIM. THEY ARE HIS JOY HE SAYS. THEY ARE HIS CROWN HE SAYS IN VERSE 1 OF CHAPTER 4 PHILIPPIANS. BUT HE ALSO SAYS THAT THEY ARE HIS LONGED FOR BRETHREN, THOSE THAT HE IS REALLY HOPING TO SEE OR WANTING TO BE WITH OR WANTING TO SPEND TIME WITH. YOU SEE, THESE BRETHREN ARE VERY DEAR TO HIM. THEY'RE NOT JUST CHRISTIANS OR BRETHREN IN GENERAL, THEY'RE CLOSE BRETHREN. AND YOU KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT - YOU, IN EVEN YOUR SECULAR LIFE, MAYBE HAVE SOME FRIENDS WHO ARE VERY CLOSE AND OTHER FRIENDS WHO MAYBE ARE NOT AS CLOSE AND YOU HAVE MAYBE SOME WHO ARE MORE ACQUAINTANCES. IT'S NOT ODD THAT WE MIGHT AT TIMES HAVE DEEPER RELATIONSHIPS WITH SOME RATHER THAN OTHERS - AND OFTEN IT'S BECAUSE OF MAYBE PERSONALITIES THAT CLICK BETTER OR BECAUSE WE'RE ABLE TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH INDIVIDUALS. AND CERTAINLY THAT'S THE CASE EVEN IN THE CHURCH.

HERE PAUL, NO DOUBT, WAS ENDURED, LOVED DEEPLY, SOME WHO WERE SO CLOSE TO HIM, PERHAPS CHILDREN OF FAITH AND THOSE WHO HAVE HELPED HIM TIME AND TIME AGAIN. AND SO THEY ARE CLOSE TO HIS HEART. THEY ARE THOSE THAT HAVE SHOWN HIM EVERY CARE AND AFFECTION, AND THEREFORE HE SAYS YOU ARE MY BELOVED. AND SO THAT'S WHY TODAY, AS WE TALK ABOUT THE THINGS WE MUST STAND FAST IN THE LORD IN, WE'LL ACTUALLY GO TO THE BOOK OF THESSALONIANS BECAUSE THERE IT BUILDS ON WHAT WE HAVE JUST LOOKED AT IN PHILIPPIANS CHAPTER 4 WHERE WE FIND THIS SPIRIT OF LOVE OR CONCERN - AGAPE LOVE, BROTHERLY LOVE, BROTHERLY CARE - AND HOW THEY REALLY WERE SO TIED TO ONE ANOTHER. HOW PAUL FELT THEY WERE SO SPECIAL TO HIM AND HOW ON HIS MIND THEY CONTINUED TO BE ALL OF THE TIME AND HOW HE ALWAYS PRAYED FOR THEM BECAUSE THEY WERE SO DEAR TO HIM.

WELL, HERE IN THESSALONICA - EVIDENTLY A PLACE PAUL HAD VISITED WITHIN MISSIONARY JOURNEYS - THERE IS A SIMILAR FEELING OR ATTITUDE. IN FACT, WHAT WE REALLY BEGIN TO SEE HERE IN THIS TEXT AS PAUL WRITES THE CHURCH AT THESSALONICA, IS THIS IN CHAPTER 3 OF 1 THESSALONIANS AND WE WANT TO READ VERSE 8 BEGINNING. HE SAYS, “FOR NOW WE LIVE IF YOU STAND FAST IN THE LORD.” WELL, THAT'S KIND OF A REALLY NEAT IDEA TO ME BECAUSE THE IDEA HE PRESENTS IS THIS - NOW WE LIVE! THE ORIGINAL THERE IS NOW WE ARE ALIVE! NOW WE HAVE COME TO LIFE AND WE ARE ALIVE! WE ARE VIBRANT! WE ARE EXITED! WE ARE JOYOUS! WE ARE THOSE WHO HAVE BENEFITED GREATLY AND WHO KNOW WHO YOU ARE AS THE BELOVED! WE ARE ALIVE! WHY ARE WE ALIVE? HE SAYS THERE BECAUSE YOU STAND IN THE LORD. AND AGAIN IN THE ORIGINAL IT SAYS BECAUSE YOU ARE STANDING IN THE LORD, YOU ARE DOING WHAT GOD SAYS.

NOW, WE CAN REALLY SEE IT MUCH CLEARER IN THE OVERALL TEXT AND SO WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AT THE CONTEXT AND DISCUSS THAT FOR A FEW MOMENTS AS WELL - THAT WE MIGHT KNOW NOT ONLY WHAT IT MEANS TO BE ALIVE WHEN WE HAVE BRETHREN AND TO BENEFIT FROM THEIR FAITH AND THEIR STRENGTH - BUT ALSO WHAT IT MEANS TO STAND IN THE LORD AND TO SEE OTHERS STANDING IN THE LORD. WHAT THE BENEFIT OF THAT IS AGAIN FOR US - THAT WE MIGHT BE ENCOURAGED AND THAT WE MIGHT ENCOURAGE OTHERS AS WELL. BACK UP WITH ME IF YOU WILL TO VERSE 6 BECAUSE PAUL AND THOSE WITH PAUL HAD JUST RECEIVED ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM TIMOTHY. AND IN FACT IF YOU BACKUP IN VERSE 1 OF CHAPTER 1 IN FIRST THESSALONIANS THAT IS, PAUL ACTUALLY MENTIONS THAT HE IS WITH SILVANUS AND TIMOTHY...SO TIMOTHY EVIDENTLY IN VERSE 6 HAS JUST ARRIVED AND COME TO THEM FROM THESSALONICA AND SO HE GIVES THEM INFORMATION ABOUT THE CHURCH. AND NO DOUBT THIS IS WHY PAUL IMMEDIATELY THEN IS WRITING AND ADDRESSING THE CHURCH AT THESSALONICA.

READ WITH ME THERE VERSE 6, “BUT NOW THAT TIMOTHY HAS COME TO US FROM YOU, AND BROUGHT US GOOD NEWS OF YOUR FAITH AND LOVE, AND THAT YOU ALWAYS HAVE GOOD REMEMBRANCE OF US, GREATLY DESIRING TO SEE US, AS WE ALSO TO SEE YOU.” WHAT IS THE FIRST THING PAUL SAYS? WELL, TIMOTHY HAS TOLD US HOW MUCH YOU LOVE US. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN A CONGREGATION AND CERTAINLY HEARD THAT YOUR NAME IS MENTIONED TIME AND TIME AGAIN WHEN YOU HAVE A PRAYER NEED AND EVERYBODY KEEPS TELLING YOU THAT WE'RE PRAYING FOR YOU AND THEY SEND YOU CARDS AND THEY SHOW YOU LOVE? OH, TIMOTHY HAS TOLD US THAT WE ARE EVER ON YOUR MINDS. HE HAS TOLD US OF THE CARE AND CONCERN, THE INTEREST THAT YOU HAVE IN OUR MINISTRY. HE HAS ENCOURAGED US BY TELLING US THE LOVE THAT YOU HAVE, THE AGAPE LOVE / THE BROTHERLY LOVE THAT YOU SHARE, NOT ONLY FOR EACH OTHER BUT THAT YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY EXPRESSING TO US ON THE BEHALF OF GOD AND YOUR FAITH AS WELL. OH, HOW ENCOURAGING! WHAT JOY! WHAT STARS IN THE CROWN TO SEE THE FAITH OF THOSE OF THESSALONICA - AND TO SEE THAT THEY TRULY WERE LOVING AS GOD COMMANDED THEM TO LOVE. AND THEY TRULY HAD FAITH AS GOD COMMANDED THEM TO HAVE FAITH.

WELL IT DOESN'T STOP THERE BECAUSE VERSE 7 IT EMPHASIZES THE SAME THING. HE SAYS, “THEREFORE, BRETHREN, IN ALL OUR AFFLICTION AND DISTRESS WE WERE COMFORTED CONCERNING YOU,” WHY? “BY YOUR FAITH.” HE SAYS WE HAVE SUFFERED GREATLY. YOU CAN GO BACK INTO THE BOOK OF ACTS AND YOU CAN SEE ALONG THE MISSIONARY JOURNEYS OF PAUL AGAIN WHEN HE WAS IN MANY OF THE CITIES - THAT THERE WAS GREAT SUFFERING. SOMETIMES HE WAS EVEN RUN OUT OF TOWN FOR HIS FAITH. HE WAS RUN OUT OF TOWN BY JEWS AND OTHERS - EVEN SOMETIMES BY THOSE WHO PROCLAIM TO BE FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST WHO DID NOT LIKE THE FACT THAT HE WAS STANDING IN THE FAITH OR IN THE LORD. AND SO HERE PAUL IS SAYING YOU KNOW, EVEN IN OUR AFFLICTION - AS HE SEEMS TO INDICATE THE TRIALS THAT WE DEAL WITH NOW. AND PAUL, BECAUSE OF HIS STANCE FOR THE LORD CONTINUALLY DEALT WITH ISSUES IN HIS LIFE FOR THOSE WHO WERE AGAINST HIM. WHY? BECAUSE THEY ARE ALSO AGAINST GOD AND THE WORD OF GOD.

AND SO PAUL SAYS, BOY, WE HAVE BEEN ENCOURAGED. WE HAVE BEEN STRENGTHENED BECAUSE WE HAVE HEARD FROM TIMOTHY OF YOUR GREAT FAITH AGAIN. YOUR WILLINGNESS TO ACT UPON YOUR BELIEFS. AND ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT THEY WERE ACTING ON WAS THERE LOVE ONE FOR ANOTHER. AND NOT ONLY THEIR LOVE AGAIN - ONE FOR ANOTHER - BUT THEIR LOVE FOR PAUL AND THOSE WHO WERE WITH PAUL - THE BRETHREN, THE WORKERS, THE EVANGELISTS, THE MISSIONARIES FOR GOD. OH WHAT GOOD CHRISTIANS - THAT HE SEEMS TO INDICATE THESE INDIVIDUALS WERE. WHAT GREAT FAITH THEY HAD IN GOD, DESPITE THE FACT THAT THEY THEMSELVES MIGHT HAVE SUFFERED SOME TRIALS AND PERSECUTIONS FOR THEIR FAITH AS WELL. YOU SEE PAUL HERE - A MAN OF GREAT GODLINESS AND STRENGTH NOW WHO HAS SEEN THEIR FAITH, WHO HAS SEEN THEIR LOVE, WHO HAS BEEN MADE EVIDENT IN FINDING COMFORT - EVEN IN HIS OWN TRIALS - AND BEING FOUND IN JOY AND EVEN AS IT SAYS HERE THE CROWN, THE GLORY, THAT EXCITES HIM. ALL OF THESE THINGS BEING TRUE THEN HE SAYS AS WE READ IN VERSE 8. NOW WE ARE ALIVE! NOW WE LIVE! NOW WE'RE ALIVE! WE HEAR YOUR FAITH - WE HEAR OF YOUR LOVE, AND THAT YOU STAND FAST IN THE LORD. YOU ARE STANDING FAST, WHICH MEANS YOU ARE STANDING FIRM. AND AS WE'VE LOOK AT ALREADY IN OUR DISCUSSIONS IN PREVIOUS WEEKS, YOU'RE PERSEVERING. YOU'RE ENDURING. YOU'RE NOT JUST SITTING AROUND DOING NOTHING BUT YOU'RE STANDING FIRM, FAST, PERSEVERING, ENDURING, MOVING TOWARD THE MARK, MOVING TOWARD THE CROSS OBEDIENTLY IN FAITH AND LOVE, ACTING AS YOU SHOULD.

NOW, WHY ARE THESE THINGS SO IMPORTANT? BECAUSE AGAIN WHAT WE CONTINUE TO SEE IS THIS ENDUREMENT THAT THEY HAD TO ONE ANOTHER. THIS GREAT CARE AND CONCERN, THIS LOVE THAT CERTAINLY SHOWS THAT THEY WERE EVER ON EACH OTHER'S MIND, THAT THEY HARDLY WOKE UP AND WENT TO BED WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT THE GREAT WORK AND MINISTRY OF PAUL, AT LEAST THOSE AT THESSALONICA. AND THAT PAUL RARELY AGAIN FOUND HIMSELF WITHOUT THAT CONSIDERATION OF THE FAITHFUL BRETHREN OF THESSALONICA AND THE LOVE THAT THEY HAD FORGOTTEN AS THEY STAND FAST AND FIRM ENDURING IN THE LORD - AND AS THEY LOVE PAUL AND AS THEY LOVE ONE ANOTHER. WELL, THAT BRINGS US TO THEN WHAT PAUL'S REACTION WAS BECAUSE OF THEIR LOVE. BECAUSE OF THEIR CARE. AND WE MIGHT NOT EVEN REMOVE FROM THE EQUATION THAT THERE'S A GOOD CHANCE THAT AS MANY CONGREGATIONS DID FOR PAUL OR THOSE WHO WERE INVOLVED IN EVANGELISM LIKE PAUL THAT PERHAPS TIMOTHY MIGHT'VE EVEN BROUGHT A GIFT. HE DOESN'T MENTION THAT HERE BUT IT MIGHT CERTAINLY INDICATE THAT THE EXPRESSIONS OF LOVE WERE NOT JUST THINGS THAT THEY SAID WERE IN THE HEART, BUT MAYBE WHAT MUST WE DO WHEN THINGS ARE IN OUR HEART? WE MUST SHOW THEM IN ACTION. AND SO ONE OF THE GREATEST WAYS TO SHOW LOVE IS NOT JUST IN ACTION BUT IN WORD...AND IN MAYBE DOING GOOD TO SOMEONE, SENDING SOMETHING THAT HE MIGHT HAVE NEED OF.

AND SO WHAT GREAT LOVE YOU HAVE SHOWN. AND I THINK WE SEE THAT AS HE NOW RESPONDS TO THEIR LOVE AND THEIR CONCERN, THAT WHICH BRINGS HIM AS HE SAYS THEIR COMFORT AND JOY. READ VERSE 9 NOW WITH ME, “FOR WHAT THANKS CAN WE RENDER TO GOD FOR YOU, FOR ALL THE JOY WITH WHICH WE REJOICE FOR YOUR SAKE BEFORE OUR GOD.” HE SAYS - OH, WE'RE SO THANKFUL TO GOD BECAUSE OF THE JOY WE HAVE! AND WHO ARE THEY JOYOUS BEFORE? GOD ALMIGHTY, FOR ALL THAT GOD HAS DONE THAT THEY WHAT? HAVE REMAINED FAITHFUL. NIGHT AND DAY HE SAYS PRAYING EXCEEDINGLY THAT WE MAY SEE YOUR FACE AND PERFECT WHAT IS LACKING IN YOUR FAITH. WELL, THEY WEREN'T PERFECT. NONE OF US ARE. AND SO HE SAYS HERE - OUR HOPE IS THE SAME HOPE THAT YOU HAVE. AND WE PRAY FOR YOU NIGHT AND DAY IN YOUR LOVE, IN YOUR FAITH, IN YOUR ACTION. AND OUR HOPE IS TO COME TO YOU AND TO BUILD YOUR FAITH EVEN MORE.

WHAT KIND OF FAITH ARE WE SUPPOSED TO HAVE? IS IT NOT TO BE A GROWING FAITH? DO WE EVER ARRIVE AT THAT PLATEAU WHERE WE NEVER NEED TO GROW AGAIN? I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT IF YOU EVER ARRIVE AT A PLACE THAT YOU FEEL LIKE THERE'S NO NEED FOR GROWTH THEN YOU'RE DYING. YOU'RE EITHER STAGNANT OR DYING IN THE LORD BECAUSE FAITH REQUIRES A CONTINUED - A CONTINUOUS GROWTH - AS EVEN THE MAN JESUS CHRIST IN THE FLESH SAID AS HE THERE INSPIRED JOHN AND AS HE SPOKE IN MANY PLACES, BUT SPECIFICALLY REVELATION 2:10 - BE FAITHFUL UNTIL DEATH UP AND UNTO THE POINT OF DEATH. ARE YOU GONNA BE FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH? THAT IS WHAT PAUL IS SAYING - I WANT TO HELP YOU IN YOUR FAITH THAT YOU MIGHT GROW EVEN MORE IN YOUR FAITH. AND NOW WE'LL NOT ONLY HAVE THE JOY THAT WE HAVE NOW BECAUSE OF YOUR FAITH AND FIND THERE AGAIN THE GLADNESS AND THE EXCITEMENT IN YOUR LOVE THAT YOU HAVE FOR GOD AND ONE ANOTHER AND EVEN US, BUT THAT WE'LL KNOW YOU'LL HAVE AN EVEN GREATER LOVE AND EVEN GREATER FAITH.

SOMETIMES YOU MIGHT SAY WELL, I DON'T KNOW HOW I COULD LOVE MORE. WELL, YOU CAN LOVE MORE. WHEN YOU PUT GOD FIRST MORE, WHEN YOU GIVE UP MORE OF THIS LIFE, WHEN YOU PUT BRETHREN BEFORE YOURSELF, YOU CAN LOVE MORE. YOU CAN HAVE A GREATER FAITH. YOU CAN GROW IF YOU WANT TO GROW. AND SO PAUL CHALLENGES THEM TO UNDERSTAND THAT HE WILL PRAY FOR THEM. NO DOUBT HE WANTS PRAYERS AS WELL. WE CAN LOOK BACK TO CHAPTER 1 OF FIRST THESSALONIANS CHAPTER 1 AND WE CAN SEE THAT HE SOLICITED NO DOUBT THEIR PRAYERS AS WELL - BUT HE WOULD PRAY FOR THEM THAT THEY WOULD GROW AND HAVE FAITH AND LOVE, NOT ONLY LIKE THEY HAD IT RIGHT NOW THAT HE WAS SO PLEASED AND JOYOUS AND HAPPY ABOUT, BUT THEY WOULD CONTINUE TO GROW. ISN'T IT GREAT TO HAVE BRETHREN THAT WILL DO THAT?

BUT THEN HE ALSO NOTICED OR RATHER SAYS TO US HERE THAT THEY HAVE THE GREAT OPPORTUNITY THEN TO CONTINUE THAT LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER. AND THIS IS THE FINAL EMPHASIS THAT I REALLY WANT TO THINK ABOUT FOR A FEW MOMENTS THIS MORNING. AS WE LOOK THERE CONTINUING IN VERSE 11, “NOW MAY OUR GOD AND FATHER HIMSELF, AND OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, DIRECT OUR WAY TO YOU. AND MAY THE LORD MAKE YOU INCREASE AND ABOUND IN LOVE TO ONE ANOTHER AND TO ALL, JUST AS WE DO TO YOU.” YOU SEE, WHAT DOES HE WANT? HE WANTS THEM TO HAVE THAT FOUNDATION - THE MOST IMPORTANT THING OF ALL, THE GREATEST OF ALL! LOVE. GOD DID ALL THAT HE DID. WHY? LOVE. AND WE MUST DO ALL THAT WE DO. WHY? LOVE. AS GOD HAS LOVED US, WE MUST LOVE HIM. BUT WE ALSO MUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER. ANS SO HE'S ENCOURAGING THEM TO UNDERSTAND THE LOVE OF THE BROTHERHOOD, THE LOVE OF THE CHURCH. YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE SAD THINGS I SEE SOMETIMES ARE THOSE WHO MAY BE SUFFERING IN THIS WORLD OR WHO ARE SUFFERING WITH HEALTH ISSUES BUT YET THEY'RE NOT INVOLVED IN RELIGIOUS THINGS AND THEY'RE NOT REALLY FOLLOWING GOD AND THEY DON'T REALLY HAVE A CHURCH FAMILY OR BRETHREN - AND SO WHEN THEY SUFFER OR WHEN THEY STRUGGLE THEY ARE VERY MUCH ALONE IN THIS LIFE AND THEY SEEM SAD AND THEY SEEM HOPELESS. THERE ARE SO MANY HOPELESS PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD. BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, WHEN I SEE MY BRETHREN ENGAGED IN TRIALS AND STRUGGLES AND CANCERS AND LOSS OF LOVED ONES, YOU KNOW WHAT I SEE BY THEIR SIDE? NOT ONLY GOD BUT I SEE BRETHREN. CHRISTIANS, NOT JUST THEIR THEIR PHYSICAL FAMILY BUT SOMETIMES EVEN MORE SO THEIR CHURCH FAMILY. OH, LOVE ONE ANOTHER - PAUL SAYS. NOT JUST AS YOU HAVE LOVED AND NOT JUST AS YOU'VE SHOWN US LOVE, BUT EVEN MORE.

ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT HE SAYS I'M HOPING THAT YOU'LL GROW IN YOUR FAITH IS LOVE. LOVE ONE ANOTHER MORE AND ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER MORE THAT YOU MIGHT LOVE AS WE HAVE LOVED YOU. AND WHAT HAD PAUL BEEN WILLING TO DO FOR THE THESSALONIANS? HE HAD BEEN WILLING TO EVEN PUT HIS OWN LIFE ON THE LINE. EVEN BE THREATENED AND BEATEN AND PERHAPS COULD HAVE LOST HIS LIFE FOR THEIR SAKES THAT THEY MIGHT HEAR THE GOSPEL AND KNOW JESUS CHRIST UNTO SALVATION. OH, WHAT GREATER LOVE HAS A MAN THAT HE WOULD BE WILLING TO DO WHAT? LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR A FRIEND. YOU SEE THE LOVE THAT HE WANTS THEM TO HAVE? THE CARE, THE CONCERN THAT HE WANTS THEM TO HAVE? SO THAT ULTIMATELY IF THEY WOULD DO WHAT GOD WOULD SAY THEY WOULD FIND THE RESULT OF BEING BLAMELESS BEFORE GOD AS WE READ IN VERSE 13. SO THAT HE MAY ESTABLISH YOU, THAT IS GOD, YOUR HEARTA WILL BE ESTABLISHED BLAMELESS IN HOLINESS BEFORE GOD THE FATHER AT THE COMING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WITH ALL OF THE SAINTS.

YOU KNOW THE MAIN THING IS THAT GOD SEES OUR FAITH. HE SEES OUR LOVE AND THAT HE KNOWS IT'S FROM THE HEART AND SINCERE - THAT THEREFORE WE'LL BE ESTABLISHED AS BLAMELESS AND HOLY IN HIS SIGHT. BECAUSE WE KNOW WHEN WE STRIVE TO BE HOLY AS GOD IS HOLY AND WHEN WE STRIVE TO BE BLAMELESS AS GOD IS BLAMELESS THEN WE WILL BE PERFECT IN HIS SIGHT. COMPLETE, ACCEPTABLE - THAT WE'LL NOT ONLY BE BLESSED TODAY BUT BLESSED ETERNALLY. SO LET ME ENCOURAGE YOU THIS DAY TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU STAND FAST IN THE LORD BUT THAT YOU UNDERSTAND HOW IMPORTANT IT IS THAT IN YOUR STANDING FAST THAT OTHERS ARE ENCOURAGED. BUT ALSO THAT WHEN YOU SEE YOUR BRETHREN STAND FAST, YOU MIGHT BE ENCOURAGED UNTO ETERNAL LIFE AS WELL.

CLOSING COMMENTS

LET ME THANK YOU AGAIN FOR CHOOSING TO BE WITH US TODAY. I HOPE OUR TIME TOGETHER HAS BEEN AN ENCOURAGEMENT AND BLESSING TO US ALL. WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN US EVERY FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, AT 7:30, AS WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO THIS TIME OF WORSHIP BEFORE GOD!

BUT FOR NOW, LET ME ASK IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS ABOUT TODAY’S LESSON? MAYBE, YOU WOULD LIKE A FREE TRANSCRIPT OR A CASSETTE TAPE OF THIS PROGRAM? POSSIBLY, WE COULD ASSIST YOU WITH FREE BIBLE MATERIALS OR CORRESPONDENCE COURSES? NO MATTER WHAT YOUR NEED IS, PLEASE CONTACT US AT THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS:

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WE THANK GOD FOR THE CHURCH AND OUR BRETHREN ON THIS EARTH. HOW COMFORTING IT IS TO KNOW, NOT ONLY THAT OUR CREATOR IS ALWAYS THERE, BUT THAT OUR CHURCH FAMILY IS THERE AS WELL. HOW MUCH EASIER IT IS TO STAND FAST IN THE LORD WHEN WE HAVE ONE ANOTHER!